Advanced C4 Solutions, Inc. has agreed to pay $4.535 million to the United States to settle allegations that it submitted inflated invoices to the government for work performed at Joint Base Andrews.
Advanced C4 Solutions, Inc. is a Florida-based company that was operating as an 8(a) small business certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA). On June 10, 2010, Advanced C4 was awarded a contract to supply project management and labor services for an Air Force technology project. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), which was administering the contract in support of the United States Air Force.
Among other things, the contract required the Advanced C4 to design, construct, and implement certain local area network and wide area network systems that would be utilized by Air Force personnel and other components of the U.S. Armed Forces on Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. The contract required the company to accurately provide invoices to the United States for work performed under the contract, including work by subcontractors. Labor costs were required to be billed according to the job classifications set forth in the contract and the number of labor hours worked by personnel at each job classification. The contract also provided that the Advanced C4 could only utilize pre-approved subcontractors. Pursuant to this provision, the company entered into subcontractor agreements with several entities, one of which was Superior Communication Solutions, Inc. (SCSI).
Advanced C4 Solutions and its subcontractors began work under the SPAWAR contract in June 2010. Andrew Bennett was the Advanced C4’s project manager who was tasked with overseeing the work performed by the company and its subcontractors under the contract. In this capacity, Bennett was responsible for verifying the accuracy of all invoices submitted by subcontractors to the company and, in turn, all the invoices submitted by the company to SPAWAR.
The settlement agreed to on Dec. 28, 2016 resolves allegations that Bennett, while an employee of Advanced C4, knew that SCSI created false invoices that charged for labor hours that were not actually worked, and charged the United States at job classification rates for personnel that did not have the requisite credentials to be billed at those rates, and yet submitted those SCSI invoices to the government for payment anyway. SPAWAR subsequently paid these invoices not knowing they were false.
In related cases, Bennett, of Tampa Florida, James T. Shank, of Perry, Georgia, and a third individual were indicted on federal criminal charges related to their actions in this matter. Bennett and Shank pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their conduct related to the SPAWAR contract. The third defendant is scheduled for trial beginning on January 30, 2017.